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Why stress inducing training is important

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by 1911 guy, Mar 10, 2016.

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  1. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    It's not my article, but written by Greg Ellefritz. I'll put the link here. It details mistakes made by someone who had minimal training and made a series of poor decisions based on that, then shot and killed an unarmed man.

    Posting in S&T is probably preaching to the choir, but get some training, refresh and build on it periodically and make sure it includes something that pushes your buttons a little. Real life isn't the square range.

    http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/the-lisa-mearkle-police-shooting
     
  2. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    Thanks for that link. I especially like the recommendation to always have a Plan B and Plan C. Maybe we can't think of every single scenario that might happen to us, but at least if we try to think of as many as possible and what we should do, including a Plan B and Plan C, then if a not-planned-for one occurs I think we have a better chance.

    Meanwhile I am shocked and horrified that a POLICE OFFICER was not better trained before being sent out onto the street, is this normal?
     
  3. strambo

    strambo Member

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    Haven't read the article yet, but yes OLNS, you probably would be shocked at the training level of most police and military. The initial training is pretty darn solid, but the ongoing training is very tough. Budgets and cost with many training requirements of a bureaucracy such as sexual harassment, EO, other mandatory non-tactical training, other non- shooting training like driving etc and then the firearms and tactics training all competing for the very limited training time allotted for an officer or soldier.

    A lot of training is reactive also. High profile situation that went sideways results in new mandatory training. Like the conventional medical approach, something goes wrong, then treat it. Much better would be prevention through more regular and realistic training before the fact.
     
  4. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    PACE - Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency

    What you should always have anytime the gun comes out

    I will disagree with: 3) Over-reliance on equipment- This guy was a middle aged drunk. He was hardly a serious fighter or in superior physical condition. I can’t imagine using a Taser in this case. I would have just tackled him and wrestled him into handcuffs. She chose to use the Taser instead, likely because she wasn’t comfortable with her hand to hand fighting abilities.

    Sorry I've spent at least 10 years of my life boxing, doing MMA, etc. The LAST thing I want to do is go hands on with someone if I can use a word or tools to accomplish the same thing. That "drunk old man" can easily pull out a knife, clock me with a padlock, etc. The other thing being ignored is the vehicle pursuit that preceded the foot chase, that preceded the TASER'ing. It's not like she rolled up on this guy passed out in Mrs. Smiths front bushes. He evaded in a vehicle, then took off on a foot pursuit. In my experience that usually means drugs and weapons. I've wrestled a guy who had a 686 in his waist band off that exact setup. I've chased and tased a suspect who had been driving around shooting people at random that started off as a traffic stop for no blinker. Just because the suspect eventually turned out to be a drunk with a suspended license and unarmed doesn't mean the officer knew that from the get go.

    I agree with most of the rest of the article, but the above part I do have issues with.

    -Jenrick
     
  5. strambo

    strambo Member

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    Just read the article and watched the video. Outstanding article (as I expected considering the author).

    The video demonstrates exactly what he covered. She panicked and had poor branching and decision making skills under stress. All this can be trained and developed through a FoF program (a good FoF program will have lots of drills to emphasize decision making as well as many no-shoot scenarios). Ideally, the officer would have this reaction the first time in training, the trainer can pause the scenario, get them to breathe ("Combat Breathing" -3s in through nose, 3s hold, 3s out through mouth-gets them out of the black zone and into the red zone where they can perform again) and coach some better ideas out of them, the start the action again. The trainee experiences the stress, but also success. The next time it will be easier (training or live.)

    If they spazzed out and shot before you could pause it, give them a de-brief including better options. Then, run them through again so they can be successful.

    Jenrick makes a good point, no single officer should have went hands-on. Time is always on the side of the police, she should have just maintained distance until backup arrived, he was on the ground and largely compliant.

    It is a problem though that many smaller officers who aren't well-trained and confident in H2H go to tools (esp. the gun) when they shouldn't. If I was a criminal, I would be especially compliant with the small officers speaking in a shrill voice (stressed out).

    If you haven't done any FoF training before, it is truly eye opening how different your actual performance is vs. your mental image of how you thought you would perform.
     
  6. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with this 100%. The days of going hands on when there are other use of force options available have been gone for years. She had the situation under control, she could have just waited for backup to arrive. I held a man at gunpoint who had been holding a knife at his brother's throat during a domestic dispute for almost 10 minutes until an officer from a neighboring jurisdiction arrived to back me up (rural LE is like that). He put the knife down, stepped away from it turned around on my command and lay prone on the ground until backup got there. He was an ex-con so maybe he knew the drill.

    I don't think she ever really had control of the situation. It kind of reminds me about what I told a young woman who was thinking of an LE career. I posed this question to her; "What are you going to do when some 6'3", 275 pound drunk looks all 5'2", 115 pounds of you in the eye and says, I don't think I'm going to let you take me to jail tonight.?" She said, "I'd draw my gun" and I asked her; "What's he done that you can shoot him for?"

    Presence has more to do with avoiding having to use force then most people realize. If this guy had wanted to, he could have easily keyed on her panic, become the aggressor, disarmed her and worse.

    I watched the video twice and I just don't understand what caused her to panic.
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Having been in the training business a long time, let me point out that stress inducing training can be done wrong.

    The goal of stress training is to teach the subject to be CALM under stressful circumstances. Too often we get a Pavlovian approach -- just as the dogs in Pavlov's experiments began salivating when the bell rang, so can men get stressed-out when the stress-inducing conditions are duplicated in the real world.
     
  8. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    "Trigger warning", here comes a very politically incorrect statement: "Presence" is partly a function of size. There was a reason there used to be a minimum height requirement for police officers that was taller than what the requirements are today, if there even still are any. Honestly I have a hard time imagining the typical BG being at all afraid of a petite guy, and even less of a small woman, even if she is the world karate champion.

    The other thing I've noticed in videos of actual police interactions is how much difference the tone of voice makes -- I can imagine it is extremely difficult to use a calm voice when engaging verbally with a BG but it's gotta be way more effective. I think a stressed-out voice stimulates the BG's monkey brain.
     
  9. shafter

    shafter Member

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    Many small towns use reserve officers. They undergo a very basic training program and then go through their agencies field training. This varies from agency to agency. Some have great programs, others not so much. The downside is that they take the exact same calls as well trained fulltimers.

    It's a budget issue. Small municipalities can't afford to send full time officers to the academy, but they have to have someone on the road taking calls. It puts reserves between a rock and a hard place. I for one don't think it's fair to judge them the same as we would a fully trained officer. They do the best they can and often work full time in other fields.
     
  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually it isn't. Presence, in LE, is a function of perception.

    As I used to tell my trainees, "What possible physical advantage could there be to closing with someone a lot larger than you? Wouldn't it be better to stand a little further back and look them straight in the eye, rather than have them look downward at you?"

    One of the better officers I worked with was about 5'3", and yet I'd prefer to have her backing me up as opposed to the 6'2" former linebacker who was my other beat partner.

    We worked really well together handling BGs because we weren't trying to be "Bigger n Badder" than the typical BG...but a real BG could see that we would do whatever was necessary to get things done. Predators recognize each other and give each other a wide berth, pretenders (wannabes) learn to recognize predators and back off.

    On the other hand, handling a belligerent drunk falls squarely into the area of expertise of the 6'2" linebacker...because he would have a better chance of handling the drunk without hurting him too badly
     
  11. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't need size to have "presence". It's how you carry yourself and approach people. Some officers, male and female both never figure that out. The young lady I mentioned in my last post didn't figure it out. She was going to rely on the tools of the trade to safely do the job.

    To take this back on topic, presence has a lot of effect on encounters private citizens get involved in. If you appear to be cool and competent you are more likely to resolve the situation without violence.
     
  12. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    Every time I told a suspect that if they moved a certain way their time on this earth was done and I got it on my mic, my voice was dead level and calm. I may have done some yelling before or after, but when we got to the point of them having the decision to exist some more it was about as raised and excited as ordering at McDonalds. It took a couple of times listening to myself on the MVR to believe I could sound that collected on the outside, compared to what all was rocketing around my brain. It worked though, I never had to pull the trigger.

    -Jenrick
     
  13. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Vern hit on a very good point. The point of training isn't so much to cause you to stress out, but rather to reach that point and teach you to deal with it rationally.

    My tale of two classes: Both were good, but one was better.

    The first was a shoot house followed the next day by FoF. The instructors walked us through the shoot house slightly behind each student, offering tips and instruction as we went. They were in the same physical position during the Fof the following day, but only as observers. We debriefed individually first, then as a class after all students went through the scenario.

    The other class was more interactive with the instructors. As we went through the Fof scenario, it was halted briefly as stress built and student performance began to suffer. The scenario began from the beginning again each time, varying slightly, so as not to be predictable or rote. The stress was maintained for a longer period of time, but emphasis was heavily toward recognizing signs of stress, collecting yourself and moving on. The end goal was the student completing the scenario with no intervention from the instructor.
     
  14. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Along with FOF training a balanced training program needs to include stress inoculation training. FOF training is great for introducing stress into the mix, it doesn't do anything to help a person deal with actual fear.

    It doesn't matter if it's air soft, simunitions, FATS, MILES or any other simulator you can name, somewhere in the back of the mind there is the realization that it's not real. That at the end of the exercise everyone will come back to life.

    The military uses things like the confidence course with its high obstacles, the 200 foot night rappel in Ranger school and other training events that introduce real fear and help the person learn to function while they are actually afraid.

    A lot of police basic SWAT training (at least back in the mid 80s when I went through the joint Air Force Security Police EST/Illinois State Police TRT course) included high rope work even though there is very limited tactical application for that skill.

    It was there to get the student used to performing while they were actually afraid.

    There are plenty of opportunities these days for a private citizen to do stress inoculation training on their own. There is a whole industry out there with obstacle courses, one can get scuba training at the local Y, an outdoor retailer can most likely point you to a group where you can learn rock climbing, you can even try skydiving although I wouldn't recommend the popular tandem jumping which strikes me as nothing more then an expensive thrill ride. The idea is for YOU to perform while you are afraid. Not depend on someone else to get you through.

    The activity you choose isn't important as long as it requires you to perform while you are afraid.

    All of the activities just mentioned are actually safer then the drive to the place you will do them but will force you to perform while you are afraid.
     
  15. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    So what about the shooting......was it really justifiable in court.
     
  16. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    How did you accomplish that?
     
  17. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    I'd like to see video of a small female police officer successfully intimidating a large BG. Seriously, hopefully I could learn something by watching.

    In a mass shooting scenario OTOH, being a small woman (and even better, also old) could be an advantage, the shooter(s) would never expect any counter-attack from such a person.
     
  18. strambo

    strambo Member

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    It's a paradox; once you get to the point where you are confident you can and will take someone's life if necessary...you likely won't have to.

    The somewhat tuned in criminals sense that true confidence (as opposed to bravado) and know that you aren't someone to be trifled with. A drunk or an inexperienced ego driven moron may miss the signal and it will be game on anyway.
     
  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    That would be rare and there wouldn't be much to learn by watching it if it did exist.

    Cover officers wouldn't have the time or inclination to video it, friends of the BG wouldn't put it up so as not to embarrass their friend.

    The reason there would be nothing to see is that it really is a mental projection, not some physical technique

    That is an excellent explanation
     
  20. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    That's true. Outside of keeping your uniform squared away and looking competent, there isn't much you can see. Appearance is part of it, probably the only part you can quantify. The rest is all about what you project with your voice and body language.

    And there are some people who aren't intimidated by anything. They are often drunk or high, maybe emotionally disturbed, but there is a certain percentage of people who, for whatever reason, won't be intimidated. Hence the guy who will look at the 5 officers there to arrest him and calmly say; "There aren't enough of you to take me to jail."
     
  21. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    Pretty much as far as I could ever figure, the next move was on them. I knew that I could make the shot, I knew that I could pull the trigger. It was on them to hit the buzzer as it were or to call it a day. I was just waiting for it to happen or not, and the confidence I had in myself and my ability to perform I think was was kept it all calm on the outside. Internally everything running around like a cracked out ferret was about everything else on the call, but not on the actual trigger pulling.

    An officer I worked with was about 5'1" and maybe 120 lbs with all her gear on. The first thing was that she wouldn't acknowledge that she was smaller or act any different then a 6'2" 280lb moose of an officer would. A lot of people simply react to how you act, and if you act like you're going to kick butt and take names, people will respond to that. What usually freaked everyone out was how mad she looked when she had someone not comply. Not a "why aren't you listening to me" mad, but more like "mom's about to tan that butt 8 shades of blue and black, and she has better things to be doing" mad. If the fight kicked off, the huge grin on her face as she dove into the mess was also disconcerting for everyone. She was one of the better partners I ever worked with.

    -Jenrick
     
  22. shafter

    shafter Member

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    The worst thing a female can do to portray command presence is yelling. No one takes that seriously. Better to use the businessman approach. "Do what I say right now or you lose your job". Speak firmly and with eye contact. Women and small men can command respect but it's rarely done by yapping like a terrier.
     
  23. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    ain't that the truth! unless you're 50 yards away, raising your voice is just telling the world you have exhausted all other options and basically have no control of the situation whatsoever.
     
  24. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    That's what I was thinking. I've seen several videos of female officers (and BTW to all the folks who wrote there are no videos, these days with body cams there are videos) and when the situation gets critical their voice goes up at least an octave, to me not effective at all. I have in my mind that if I have to engage verbally I should pitch my voice low and put support under it by breathing from the lower abdomen, hope I will have the control to do that.
     
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